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So am I a nutjob or what?

  1. Apr 12, 2008 #1
    I dropped out of my graduate program in engineering after a year and a half to pursue a career (dream job) across the country. I'm now employed there, and am enjoying it, but I miss certain aspects of college. Mainly, I want to keep my mind powerful. So, I've started on a path to refresh my memory on everything....starting with....arithmetic. Yeah apparently I have a lot of free time (helps save me money as well by not going out so much, haha...not to mention the recovering ankle injury)

    When I was in college, I tried sometimes in my free time to study new material on my own, but I could never get all the way through an academic textbook (and it took forever for me to motivate myself), because I always got hung up on the grueling task of doing math. I found myself being too reliant on my calculator and drawing blanks when it came to actually doing physics problems (physics, which I tended to enjoy more than my engineering classes). I remembered being so quick with math, and something happened (probably lack of rigorous study habits) in college that made me slow down. I want to reconquer physics and possibly take the physics GRE and see where that will get me.

    A week into this and I'm 1/3 through "How to Calculate Quickly" by Henry Sticker. After that I was planning on running through an algebra book then my calculus/DE books so that I can hit physics straight on without stumbling over the math (I don't think that will take long judging by my quick progress with arithmetic, and I remember a good amount of calc). Sure, I can still do calculus problems, but I'm not as quick as I want to be. That, and I miss obvious things by not being able to run numbers through my head quickly. I've also considered doing some tutoring part time if I can find a gig, possibly as some extra income and mental exercise.

    So how psycho am I? I enjoy sitting there, playing with numbers in my free time.......eek
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2008 #2
    Ha, your not psycho. Have you seen any of the other threads like this? I believe one kid was doing stuff for like 6-7 hours everyday, out of class material. I applaud.
  4. Apr 12, 2008 #3
    6-7 hours? wow...

    I just think it's slightly odd, doing lots of arithmetic after all that calc and PDEs and everything
  5. Apr 12, 2008 #4
    6-7 hours of study would be a normal light day in my opinion. Really bad days of undergrad that had projects due streched out nearly 24 hours.
  6. Apr 12, 2008 #5
    I never spent that much time in undergrad on anything, never pulled an all nighter. Then again I wasn't a physics major....if that matters
  7. Apr 12, 2008 #6
    I was an engineering major (ME). Undergrad consisted of: LAB, Homework, Exam, Major Project

    ...drawn in a positive feedback loop, blowing up to infinity. It was always 10 things due with no time.

    You know theres a major project due when you go down to the computer labs at 2-3am and cant find a seat becuase the entire class is running FLUENT CFD simulations on every damn computer.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  8. Apr 12, 2008 #7
    Yeah, from what I can tell, an Engineer's life is planned out for him/her the second they get accepted. Lots of classes to take...

    Physics doesn't have nearly as many and a lot more leniency on what you can and cannot take. Apparently they are changing that next year, though...
  9. Apr 13, 2008 #8
    Cyrus, hmm, all the classes that had to do with fluids that I took all stressed fundamentals and required the bare minimum of computer time.

    It was always the physics classes that kept me up thinking and wanting to spend extra time on them. The ONLY time I ever went to the teacher's office hours for example, except to hand something in, was for a theoretical physics class I took as an elective. Then again I'm probably an outlier and not typical. I was || close to doing a dual major in aerospace engineering/physics but wussed out when I had got sick and had a rough middle semester that put me another semester behind in that idea.
  10. Apr 13, 2008 #9
    Crazy? Perhaps, but it's your life to do with as you please! I did graduate in Physics and found it challenging but not difficult. In your study to get up to speed, I suggest an emphasis in Algebra II, Since so much of Calculus and Differential Equations is, in fact, algebra. As far as Physics goes, Classical Physics can easily be self taught, though I would despair of your understanding without lab experience.
    Second year would be difficult alone, unless you have a good understanding of Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics. The 3rd and 4th year, with Atomic Physics, Quantum Mechanics, etc. will likely be impossible to master on your own.
    I suggest you enroll on line, many colleges now offer credit courses.
  11. Apr 13, 2008 #10
    When I said 6-7 hours I was just guessing from what I remembered about the thread. It was/is in the Homework Help section.
  12. Apr 13, 2008 #11
    The fundamentals were the homework\Exams. The CFD was the major project, flow analysis around a formula 1 car.
  13. Apr 13, 2008 #12
    Cyrus, that sounds like it was a cool project. Was CFD offered as an undergrad course? Where I went to school it was a grad level course that had heavy grad pre-reqs, so I never took it. I took one grad level fluids course (actually, compressible flow), and it only involved solving simple 1D compressible flow problems at the end with programming. I had to do work outside of school to go through anderson's intro to CFD book on my own.

    Dozent, I've had a little bit (only 2 classes though) more of physics that the usual engineer at my school, including a modern physics course that covered the basics of QM, relativity, and statistical mechanics. So I'm familiar with the concepts. I also dropped out of an E&M course after being ill and unprepared from taking 2 other physics courses and 2 engineering courses in the same semester.

    As for labs, do you really do a lot of lab work when taking upper division physics classes? If so, is there anything I can do on my own time to at least feel comfortable with the idea? The local university here (and I don't have many options) doesn't seem to offer classes at a time I can take them.
  14. Apr 13, 2008 #13
    No, CFD is a grad course, however, FLUENT is a CFD package. Dr. Anderson teaches at my school. Hes a really nice guy. I used his book for undergrad Aerodynamics, but I know about his CFD book you are talking about, it has a gray cover. I need to sit in a class of his before he retires, maybe his graduate level aerodynamics.
  15. Apr 13, 2008 #14
    MIT Offers courses on line. as does University of Ill and Stanford. Check them out
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